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Thermal decomposition (methane)


Technology Description

Methane splitting/pyrolysis/cracking is a thermochemical process in which methane is decomposed at high temperatures in H2 and solid carbon, thus generating CO2-free H2 since the carbon present in the methane is separated as a solid carbon that can be used in different applications. Methane cracks to H2 and C at temperatures of > ~ 400 °C, while temperatures of > 1000 °C are required to achieve a high conversion. Nonetheless, a reactor operating temperature of > 1000 °C, can lead to significant technical challenges e.g. material compatibility and corrosion. To address this challenge, three patent-pending process configurations have been proposed to lower the temperature of the methane pyrolysis reactor to less than 1000 °C, which enables the use of commercially available stainless steels and offers potential to mitigate costs. The high temperatures required for the process can make it energy-intensive, requiring a significant amount of energy to be supplied to maintain the high temperatures. Additionally, the solid carbon produced during the process can cause fouling and clogging of equipment, leading to operational challenges. There could be either with or without catalyst. reaction may be produced in liquid media, as a molten metal or a molten salt, by bubbling reactor. Depending on the composition of the molten media, temperatures are reduced to take into account the effect of the catalyst.

Relevance for Net Zero

Other alternative technologies for hydrogen production from fossil sources with CCS are far more developed and cost-competitive, although there may be some scope for its deployment thanks to the possibility of producing low-emission hydrogen with a simpler configuration than technologies incorporating CCUS

Key Countries


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